Tag Archives: beth curley

“Inga Binga” explores a Pre-Camelot JFK

Julian Wiles, the founder and artistic director of Charleston Stage and author of Inga Binga, brings the young Jack Kennedy to life before our very eyes, with the help of New York stage actor Phil Mills, but more on him later.

Anyone who has ever been remotely intrigued by the dashing, enchanting life and times of JFK will enjoy Inga Binga, playing at the Dock Street Theatre through March 25th.  An original play, based on actual events that happened right here in Charleston, Inga Binga is the story of a weekend tryst between Jack and Inga, a Danish beauty queen who caught the young ensign’s eye in Washington.

Jack has been transferred to Charleston, where fear of German u-boat attacks, spies and sabotage have prompted the locals to install air raid sirens and black out shelters all over the city.  Any one of foreign descent is suspect.  Jack’s amour, the beauty queen to the silver screen Inga Arvad, is just such a one.

We won’t tell you much more of the story, (go see it for yourself!) but it was wildly entertaining.


Phil Mills stars as Jack and Gardner Reed as Inga, both imported from Manhattan for this production.  They were engaging and a refreshing change up in the leads, supported by Charleston Stage vets.  Reed is as lovely as Mills is handsome, and they had excellent chemistry.  Reed’s accent wasn’t quite as consistent as Mills’, but it did not distract from her performance.  She has an amazing ability to showcase both Inga’s vulnerability and bravado, even in the same moments.  Mills swagger and smile seemed so natural, so part of him, that it was hard to believe you weren’t watching the man himself.

Brian J. Porter stars as Lem, Jack’s best friend since prep school.  What. A. Guy.  Porter has played everything from chorus (Chicago, the season opener for Charleston Stage) to star (anyone else remember What If? ProductionsHedwig last year?!), and he positively shins in Inga.  He has the ease of someone who feels so very at home on stage, and it makes his performance fantastic.

Beth Curley and her Hair.  The woman is spot on as Betty, a ballsy reporter after her story.  We loved her scheming, plotting, do-anything-to-get-the-scoop nature, but special mention should also go to the best head of hair on stage in Charleston!  She looks like she’s straight out of a salon commercial.

In summation, this is a worthy night at the theatre, whether you are a JFK enthusiast, want a comedy with a little love too, or a sucker for the inevitability of doomed romance, Inga Binga will satisfy audience members of any age, Yankee or Charlestonian.  Kudos to the entire cast and crew and particularly playwright and director Julian Wiles.

words: Stacy Huggins


She’s Got An Angry Inch, and You Need to Know About It!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you’ve never seen Hedwig and The Angry Inch, in film or on stage, you owe it to yourself to get over to the American Theatre for the last two shows tonight and tomorrow, 8 pm.

What If? Productions brings back their opening show for Piccolo Spoleto 2011 and I’m ever so glad.  If, like myself, you missed it the first go around, think of this as your make-up extra credit assignment.

Brian J. Porter and Beth Curley star in this tale of a washed up glam rock goddess, who knows her way around the odd (blow) job or two.  Porter is fantastic in drag, and a voice to match the job.  Porter has a gift for the one-liners and engaging an audience with words, song, and self.  Curley provides the comic relief and emotional support Hedwig (begrudgingly) needs.  They make an entertaining pair.

“Without a question, Hedwig and The Angry Inch is my favorite performance so far of Spoleto.  It strikes a fantastic emotional balance of humor and sadness, in a very impressive way,” says Art Mag publisher Olivia Pool.  “I totally has a crush on Hedwig…if she’s willing to go on a date, I will happily oblige!”

What If?’s own Alex Hennessey is the Music Director and Kyle Barnette directs.  Don’t miss the last two performances June 7 & 8!!

American Theatre 446 King Street, 8 pm.  Tickets $23 at Piccolo Spoleto online or call 843.811.4111.

The 39 Steps to a Successful Play

1. a newly renovated theatre

2. a who done it by Alfred Hitchcock

3. actors who can change characters at the drop of a hat

4. 4 trunks

5. humorous references to other famous Hitchcock films

6. excellent directing

7. well that’s all well and good, but who would really read to 39?  The most important thing I can tell you is this play made my non-theatre loving boyfriend laugh out loud.  Yes, he literally LOL!  I enjoyed every moment of this hilarious and fast paced script.

It was a fabulous production by Charleston Stage’s talented and professional cast and crew.  I was incredibly impressed by the resumes of each of the actors, their ability to manage demanding day jobs and put on a play of this caliber.  Plus any excuse to visit the Dock Street Theatre, America’s first theatre, is a treat.

The Cast:

Richard Hannay – the dashing Kyle W. Barnette

Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret – Beth Curley

Clown/Man 2 – Brian J. Porter

Clown/Man 1 – George Younts